I thought it would be interesting to imagine how the New York Knicks would behave if they celebrated Christmas, family-style.
The setting is Mike Woodson’s house. Woodson sits in a bathrobe, bleary-eyed, dreading the arrival of the various members of his team in a few hours. Suddenly, the doorbell rings. Woodson walks to the door and opens it. It is Knicks forward Cole Aldrich.
MW: Oh… hello Cole, Merry Christmas. You’re here a little early don’t you think?
CA: I’m actually an hour and a half early, Coach, and I want you to remember that. I’m here to help, you can count on me. I’m a great teammate and don’t care about minutes. I make the people around me better, especially in practice. I’d love the opportunity to be on the roster this year.
MW: Cole, you’ve been on the team all year. We’re paying you to play on our team.
CA: Don’t listen to the advanced stats guys. My horrific PER is an illusion. Have I told you about my Kansas stats? Cause, boy were they good. Who needs computers when you can see how much I care about this game? I’m not the next MJ, but I could be your Luc Longley. Or Brian Cardinal. I can be the white guy. I’m sorry was that inappropriate? I’ll run some laps for that comment. I can’t go back to the Tulsa 66ers. Please.
MW: Cole, just go inside.
Woodson attempts to close the door behind him but a cane blocks its path. The door opens slowly, revealing a visibly disheveled Kenyon Martin.
MW: Hey Kenyon, how are ya? Come on in, Cole’s inside.
MW: Never mind. Hey, is…is that a cane? Are you OK?
KM: Oh yeah Coach, don’t worry. I was brushing my teeth this morning and my shoulder popped out, which is like a daily thing so whatever, but today the shoulder caused a chain reaction to my left hip, which got loose. Luckily, I ran into JR this morning and he gave me some of his marij- I mean Tylenol, so I’m feeling better.
MW: Alright well, be careful in there.
Inside, Cole Aldrich sweeps a very clean floor with a broom, muttering nervously to himself. Martin finds a chair, which he plans to stay in for the entire day if possible.
An hour later, players start to arrive more frequently. First, Amar’e Stoudemire, flanked by a large group of Jewish men, arrives at the door.
AS: Shalom, Coach. I have brought friends from my synagogue. Your holiday of Christmas is not something I have ever experienced, however I accept your beliefs with an open heart.
MW: OK that’s…great Amar’e thanks for coming. Did you bring that salad by any chance, like I asked? My wife’s been waiting on it.
AS, turning to his friends: These are the unrealistic expectations I speak of so often, gentlemen. This is why I choose not to start games anymore.
MW: Ok, Amar’e just go inside and relax. Kenyon and Cole are in there.
AS: Kenyon brought coal? That doesn’t seem very Christmas-appropriate.
MW: No Cole, like Cole…never mind.
Moments later, three Fiats pull up in Woodson’s driveway. Beno Udrih, Andrea Bargnani, and Pablo Prigioni step out of each vehicle. All appear to be intoxicated, especially Bargnani who is stumbling as he approaches the front door.
PP: Ciao Coach, mi dispiace ma siamo stati al club. Andrea è molto ubriaco…
MW: Pablo, we have been over this, I DO NOT understand Italian. Wait…Andrea have you been drinking? It’s 10 AM.
AB: Oh Coach don’t worry, I don’t get “drunk,” like you Americans call it. I am allergic to the “drunk.” Like I am allergic to the “paint.”
MW: Please just go inside before the neighbors see you. And hey how about you Beno, Merry Christmas, how are things?
BU: Zapri gofljo.
MW: OK, fair enough. Alright guys, just head inside, a few of the guys are here. Oh, can one of you guys help Cole out back, he’s getting firewood.
PP: Who is the Cole? Did you trade the JR for him? Please tell me the JR is gone.
MW: No, Cole Aldrich, you know the big guy, doesn’t play much?
AB: I thought he was trainer.
Twenty minutes later, Iman Shumpert and Tim Hardaway, Jr. arrive, dragging Raymond Felton behind them.
IS: Yo Coach, my bad! Sorry we were late. On the way here, we saw Ray passed out on a table in front of McDonalds, so we had to pick him up. It looked like he had eaten five “20 piece McNuggets.” Tim said, “Leave him, more minutes for me,” but then I said, “Nah, I’m a team player #knickstape #turnup.” But then Tim was like, “Yo chill with that Tw-“
MW: Iman we talked about this. You are an adult. You cannot speak in Twitter language. Just get Raymond inside. By the way, have either of you seen J.R. He isn’t answering his phone. I’m starting to worry.
Hardaway and Shumpert look at each other ominously, each shaking their head at the other.
TH: No…um…we haven’t seen him. I’m- I’m sure he’s fine.
MW: Ok… thanks guys. Just head on inside, food should be ready soon.
At that moment, a horse and carriage arrives. Out steps Carmelo Anthony, accompanied by his wife LaLa.
MW: Hey Carmelo, ho-
CA: LaLa what did this man just say?
CA: LaLa, what did this man just call me?
LV: The fool called you Carmelo.
CA: And what does Carmelo think about that?
LV: Carmelo doesn’t like that.
CA: And LaLa, what should this man have called Carmelo?
LV: Mr. Anthony. Damn fool.
CA But did he do that?
LV: No, he didn’t, baby.
CA: Now, MIKE, is there anything you’d like to say?
MW: Uh I’m sorry… Mr. Anthony. How are you doing today?
CA: Carmelo is doing good. But Carmelo is hungry. As is Carmelo’s wife LaLa. Carmelo will not wait to eat. Carmelo will have steak today. LaLa will have Honey Nut Cheerios with skim milk.
One hour later, with dinner well underway, there is a knock at the door. Outside stands J.R Smith flanked by Plaxico Burress and what appears to be a homeless man.
MW: JR, where have you been? The whole team is inside. Who are these two people? Did you bring Plaxico Burress as a guest? And who is this man?
JS: Finish him, Plaxico.
Burress draws a gun, but Cole Aldrich appears from nowhere, taking a charge on the advancing Plaxico, who loses his balance and mishandles his gun, firing a bullet into his left thigh.
PB: Not again!
MW: Cole you saved my life! Way to get into position for that charge!
CA: Tears rolling down his face, Does this mean I’m on the team?
Dinner ends as JR Smith and Plaxico are hauled off in a police car. The European trio have all passed out on the couch, right near Raymond Felton who is curled in a ball on the floor. Iman Shumpert, busy updating his Instagram is oblivious to all that has happened. Tim Hardaway sits, quietly, in a corner, and thinks out loud.
TH: I need to get off this team.